3 Things You Need to Know Before Booking Kinkajou Night Walk
3 Things You Need to Know Before Booking Kinkajou Night Walk
Over the last decade, I have arranged night walk tours for hundreds of people who visit Monteverde, and Kinkajou Night Walk has been among the best night tours in the area for all this time. And you might be thinking of booking a night walk with them, but there are three things you need to know before you book the Kinkajou Night Walk tour in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Before I tell you what those things are, let’s quickly explain what Kinkajou Night Walk is.
Kinkajou Night Walk is a 2-hour light walk in Monteverde to see animals in their natural habitat. At Monteverde, 80% of the wildlife is active only during the night, and for you to see it, you need to join a night walk with a local tour guide in a local park. The Kinkajou Night Walk takes place in a local forest called Kinkajou, which combines primary forest with endemic trees and secondary forest with fruit trees, providing shelter and food for local wild animals. With the help of a local tour guide and flashlights, exploring the Kinkajou forest looking for animals at night can be an exciting experience. You will learn a lot about the local flora and fauna, and you will experience what it’s like to search for the creatures of the night.
You can book the Kinkajou Night Walk experience through your host in Monteverde, or you can book it online to get instant confirmation and secure your spots in advance. You can click here to check real-time availability and book online with Kinkajou Night Walk. But, before you book your Kinkajou Night Walk experience, there are three things you should know before you book; they feed the animals, bring too many people on tour, and don’t have the best tour guides.
They Feed Animals
There are several articles on the web from authoritative entities on whether or not humans should feed wild animals. Take this article, for example, from National Geographic, Why you shouldn’t feed wild animals -except maybe birds. This article explains the dangerous consequences of providing wild animals with ordinary human food. Still, this is a common practice at Kinkajou Night Walk, according to local tour guides who used to work there and whose names we will keep anonymous. Customers have also pointed this out via online reviews, such as the following, reported by a TripAdvisor user:
“This pretends to be a rainforest night walk, but actually, you see captured animals taken out of their habitat and placed along the path. Groups of people provoke scorpions. They place frogs on a single isolated plant in a cleared stream, so the guides know exactly where to find them. Multiple tree vipers placed up trees highly exposed.”
Local experts on the field validate the above comment, explaining that it’s impossible to see multiple vipers in a small region, like Kinkajou’s forest, as these species are highly territorial. They also explain that the odds of finding a frog on a visible plant are improbable as they would be exposing themselves to other predators like owls. You can find the above review and other similar reviews online, and then you can make your conclusions.
As for my customers, I always tell them about this because I have friends who worked at Kinkajou Night Walk, and they attest that feeding animals are a common practice at this place, so I give the heads-up and then let the customers make the final call. I remember a time when one of my customers, a mother of two kids who wanted to see a sloth, told me that she did not matter; she just wanted their kid’s dream come true. This family went on to do the tour, the kids saw a sloth, and they had a great time.
I only mention this to set the right expectations, not to judge, so you are free to book the Kinkajou Night Walk if you do not mind that they feed animals. And you will more than likely see wildlife such as sloths, armadillos, porcupines, possums, coatis, olingos, and kinkajous, as well as sleeping birds and a wide variety of insects, among others.
Moving on with the next thing you need to know before you book with Kinkajou Night Walk is that sometimes they bring too many people to the tour.
As mentioned above, there is a high probability that you will see a wide variety of wildlife at the Kinkajou Night Walk, but with this benefit comes a consequence; the tour is very commercial. According to my estimations, based on the number of times we sell this tour, as well as the observations of a friend who lives next to the Kinkajou Night Walk forest, we estimate that Kinkajou sells 80 to 100 tickets per night on the high season that goes from December through April. Some of the online reviews from previous customers, such as the following:
“This company (Kinkajou Night Walk) has a small parcel of land into which they fit in as many groups of 10+ people as possible with a so-called guide. Each person in the group received a flashlight. You can imagine 100+ flashlights and people in a small area, crisscrossing each other.”
The above comment resonates with my friend’s joke when he says that every night is Christmas at Kinkajous Night Walk, referring to a small forest with lots of lights resembling a Christmas tree. And the tour is not always that crowded, but we need to mention it, again, not to judge, but to set the correct expectations.
Moving on, before booking a tour with Kinkajou Night Walk, the third thing you should know is that they don’t have the best tour guides.
Sometimes, when I get a comment from a customer who did not have a great experience at Kinkajou Night Walk, more often not, the root cause of the issue deals with capacity. They have a lot of customers going into the tour at once, and as a result, they need to resort to less experienced tour guides, usually, young students who just finished high school and are doing their tourism practice. Here is a comment from a customer who experienced this:
“The guide that we had on Dec 24 was some local boy they had roped in to act as a guide. He fumbled and scared away a tarantula, a frog that climbed on his legs, and he could not find it (funny), a bird he woke up from its sleep.”
As mentioned above, this is not always the case, but it usually happens whenever Kinkajou outsells the tour, which is often during December through April. And I fully get that we need to give a chance to younger generations, which can only get experience by practicing on the field. Still, unlike other night tours in Monteverde, it seems as though these fresh-out-of-high-school fellows are leading tours by themselves without enough hand-holding from more experienced guides.
We’re getting to the end of this article, and by this time, you’re probably wondering whether or not you should on a night tour with Kinkajou Night Walk, and the answer depends on how much you are concerned by the above three factors. Otherwise, the walk is pretty good. I have done it myself, and I enjoyed it even though it was not as authentic as other night walks in Monteverde, but I did see animals, and that is the main reason people decide to do a night walk in Monteverde in the first place.
The overall customer sentiment for Kinkajou Night Walk is also good. As of the time of writing this post, Kinkajou Night Walk has a solid 4.1 / 5 score on Google with 437 reviews and a 3.9 / 5 score on TripAdvisor with 435 reviews.
Is Kinkajou Night Walk For You?
I hope the information above can help you decide if the Kinkajou Night Walk is for you, and if so, you can click on this link to check real-time availability and book online with Kinkajou Night Walk. Alternatively, you can click on this link to read the Top 7 Best Night Tours in Monteverde. That article is a side-by-side comparison of the best night tours in the area, with quality and pricing data to help you make a more educated decision on which night tour is best for you in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
About the Author
I am the founder of Monteverde Tours Online. I live in Monteverde, and I love nature, adventure, and Mountain Biking. My partner and I love spending time in the outdoors and dining out in Monteverde. We have more than 30 years of combined experience in the area, and there is no park, no coffee shop, and no restaurant we haven’t tried at least once!
We love helping visitors, connecting them with the different tours and activities to have a memorable experience in Monteverde.
If you need help planning things to do in the area, send us a message, and we will happily assist you!